Meet the makers

Meet the maker: Mike Farmilo

Former Penfolds winemaker takes on Mediterranean styles

Australia’s love affair with Mediterranean wines continues, and former Penfolds Red winemaker and twice Jimmy Watson Trophy winner Mike Farmilo is the latest to join the converted.


The award-winning winemaker has just launched Altero, a range with Italian and Spanish styles that have been grown and made in South Australia’s Fleurieu Peninsula.


“Built to challenge your palate, these wines are packed with soul and complexities like no other”, says Mike.


Here, he explains why he is so passionate about Mediterranean wines and why they flourish in the Fleurieu Peninsula.

How did you get into wine making?

In high school, I enjoyed Chemistry and Maths, and I wanted to work in a laboratory. I applied for a number of laboratory jobs in the food industry, but a winery was the first to offer me a job. The winery suggested I do the Roseworthy Diploma of Oenology as part of my development and my love of wine and winemaking began there.


What do you love most about being a winemaker?

It’s both science and an art. There are so many different varieties, regions and winemaking methods to choose from. Making something from the land, and trying to adapt to the weather conditions of each year, bottling it and watching it develop over time each year is a challenge, but has the greatest rewards.


What’s your winemaking philosophy?

To preserve and enhance the fruit characters from the vineyard and produce a wine that shows character, displays well balanced flavour and that people will ultimately enjoy.



Why do you think Italian wines are having a moment at the moment?

More than any other country, Italian wines are made to be enjoyed with food. It’s a culture where people think seriously about food and complementary wines.


Why does the Fleurieu Peninsula excel at Italian wines do you think?

The Fleurieu Peninsula is surrounded by water, with the Southern Ocean on one side and the Gulf St Vincent on the other, so it’s the Australian region with the closest climate to the Mediterranean.


How would you describe the wines that can be found in the Altero range?

The wines are all alternative varieties originating from Italy, Spain and the Mediterranean. They show the character and style of their home countries and are bright and fresh for early consumption. Minimal oak and relatively early bottling showcase individual varietal characteristics and allow you to compare and contrast the different varietals.


Discover the Altero range, here.